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Vanderbilt Cup 1904


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#1 Felix Muelas

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 20:50

My friend Gustavo Morales is preparing a work on the Vanderbilt Cup 1904 and has just requested if we could clarify / amplify the contents of a note that he has found on his files, that seems to give less answers than the questions it generates. Let´s go to it:

It would seem that on October 3rd 1904 (that is five days before the inaugural Vanderbilt Cup race), on the same Long Island track where the race would eventually take place, some practice took place.
It seems that there was an accident, and that a Pope-Toledo 24HP was involved (the Lyttle´s car maybe?) and, finally, that the accident did bear some "serious consequences".
To whom? Was there a fatality?
No trace of that accident seems to be accesible on Gustavo´s sources so he has thought about you gentlemen...

PS : I have not been able to consult Jose Luis Otero on this matter, but I found a reference that he makes to a certain MENSEL that was the co-driver/mechanic to George Arents in that race and that died on an accident when the Mercedes that he was travelling in lost a wheel on the en Jamaica-Hempstead Road. Arents survived after two days in coma.
But obviously this accident happened on the race day (as I understand) so really not the one Gustavo is looking for (my guess)

Thanks you in advance as always,

Felix

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#2 fines

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 22:02

To my knowledge, only two Pope-Toledos were entered, a racing car of 40 HP and a stripped touring car of 24 HP. The touring car (Lyttle) was flagged running third, while the racing car (Webb) "broke (its) steering gear and ran into a tree".

"In the second round (of the race) Arents' Mercedes car overturned from a burst tyre, and the mechanic Mensel was killed". All quotes from Gerald Rose.

#3 robert dick

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 07:47

The Arents/Mensel accident is slightly mysterious : On one hand Mensel (sometimes spelled Menzel) is said to have been killed in this 1904 Vanderbilt accident, on the other hand some contemporary sources (for example “La Vie au Grand Air”) gave Menzel as mechanic for Jenatzy in the 1905 Bennett Cup (Auvergne, on Mercedes).

#4 Felix Muelas

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 08:10

Thank you, Robert. Just to prove that things can always get slightly more complicated... ;)

Michael : it might be my translation to English, what I think Gustavo might have meant with the word "involved" refering to the Pope-Toledo is that it might have been part of the scenario, so to speak. Not necesarily the car having an accident, maybe just blocking (all this is my guess).

#5 robert dick

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 08:12

Contemporary race report from “The Horseless Age”, confirming that Carl Menzel was killed at :
http://www.attic.uto.../auto/ha49.html
(+ next pages)
At the end of the last page, a practice accident of a Pope-Toledo is mentioned.
= = = =
The whole website is interesting :
http://www.attic.uto...o/clipping.html

#6 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 11:03

The book Auto Racing Old and New has a quite detailed account of the race.

There is no mention of the practice accident but there is the strange fact that the mechanic killed was entered under another name.

"Arent's mechanic, called Meusel at this Vanderbilt, was really Carl Mensel..."

#7 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 17:30

Peter Helck in his book THE CHECKERED FLAG mentions "...vicious about-face slides in which mechanic Mensel was thrown out and then nearly run over, preceded the crash which took Mensel's life."

He writes, "The first Bona fide mishap occured on Lap 2 when Arents, he of the thorough knowledge of the course, upset his Mercedes with fatal results to his unfortunate mechanic, Mensel."

Beverly Rae Kimes in the Automobile Quarterly Vol 6 No 2 story, titled The Vanderbilt Cup Races 1904 - 1910 writes about the accident, "...On his first lap George Arents Jr. who had boasted of his five-year experience in driving the course, overturned his Mercedes in the Jamaica-Hempstead road, fatally injuring his unfortunate mechanic Carl Mensel."

#8 Felix Muelas

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 21:35

Well, thanks again, gentlemen! We are really presenting our respects to Carl Mensel by acknowledging the circumstances of his death.

Meanwhile we have arrived, thanks to robert´s pointing at Attic, to the origin of all Gustavo´s headaches these days ... Let´s read :

Last paragraph of the very last page scanned -380- in that address reads as follows :
Posted Image
:mad: :mad: :mad:

...so what Gustavo would really put his hands into is the next paragraph, the one starting page 381 on one of The Horseless Age Vol 14. nº15...or just know what happened when travelling along the Massapequa road, about... :

#9 Felix Muelas

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 13:33

Is the above "visible" or "readable" for everybody or just for me? :lol:

Come on, gentlemen, the thread almost vanished into page 2 in just one day!

Please, any comments? What fatality might the author be talking about? A driver? A mechanic? A spectator?

Is "fatality" used in English just for persons? (this is just for me learning proper use of English and discarding a dog, for instance, being the victim of which nobody seemed to care about quoting in later chronicles of the race)

un abrazo

Felix

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 15:10

Originally posted by Felix Muelas
Is the above "visible" or "readable" for everybody or just for me? :lol:

Come on, gentlemen, the thread almost vanished into page 2 in just one day!

Please, any comments? What fatality might the author be talking about? A driver? A mechanic? A spectator?

Is "fatality" used in English just for persons? (this is just for me learning proper use of English and discarding a dog, for instance, being the victim of which nobody seemed to care about quoting in later chronicles of the race)

un abrazo

Felix


I'm afraid it could be any of the above, Felix. It could be a dog .... or a horse .... even an unwary rabbit or fox. But, like you, I would suspect it's a person - unless it was written by a particularly sensitive journalist.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 19:58

...and it slipped off the front page because there's so much going on in TNF lately!

#12 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 08:58

Originally posted by Felix Muelas
...What fatality might the author be talking about? A driver? A mechanic? A spectator?
...

I would think that fatality is in reference to a human being. To find the answer, one would have to look at the next page, which is obviously missing but to be found in a library magazine. The Detroit Automotive Library, Watkins Glen Library in N.Y. or the AACA Library in Hershey, PA. should have it.

#13 Felix Muelas

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 09:16

Thanks for the clarification, Hans.

Would any of the TNFers have access to any of the Libraries that you quote in search of page 381 on one of The Horseless Age Vol 14. nº15 ?

As days go by, I am more inclined to believe that the fatality that we are trying to find details about might very well have been a spectator. A walking one, I mean. It was reported that there were too many people crossing the roads and dangerous situations arising from that.

As a "subordinated" entry to this topic -again it might be my English letting me down- how do you fit three people into a two-seater?

Please read the paragraph above: "On the evening of that day Herbert C Lyttle, H H Anderson and Harold Rigby were driving a 24 h.p. Pope-Toledo...over the course".

Can someone expand on this?

#14 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 09:52

Felix, try http://www.aaca.org/
They did research for me three years ago when I was messing around with the Elgin Road races. It was very affordable then.

Update:
Check this one out also http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/nahc/

Unfortunately I don't have the Watkins Glen site yet. Maybe Don?

#15 Don Capps

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 17:20

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Unfortunately I don't have the Watkins Glen site yet. Maybe Don?


The IMRRC site is http://www.racingarchives.org/ ....and Bill Green, the IMRRC historian, should be able to help. Bill is an fascinating source of information and I never cease to be amazed with what Bill digs up.

I have been a tad "preoccupied" of late so haven't been able to wade into this thread as I would like to do. Somewhere in the musty recesses of my tired old brain, I recall coming across some material relating to a spectator or mechanican fatality at the 1904 that caught my interest for some reason beyond the usual, "Oh, my!" reaction. I hope I copied and stuck it somewhere in my files....